Random Swimming and Bench Questions

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My gym has the slipperiest bench on the planet. Any time I try to bench, I’m sliding all over the place, even with a towel. Any suggestions? I was thinking of a yoga mat towel, the kind with grippy silicon dimples but they’re six feet long, so overkill. Is there a product for this purpose?

Second, due to a sprained toe, I’m off my feet for a few days. Doing aquafit with a flotation belt so my feet won’t hit the ground. Gave swimming some laps a whirl right before aquafit and, much to my surprise, I really enjoyed it, but I’m a weak swimmer.

Is there somewhere online you can suggest to learn how to breath during swimming? How to do the flippy thing at the wall? I have to stop, stand, and breath to do either.

I asked for swimming lessons last year, but she’s booked out for months with kids’ lessons, with a full waiting list.

I’m going to nix my track walk between training and aquafit and begin swimming laps. Much more efficient use of my time! My goggles are due in this afternoon! 👍🏻

Replies

  • claireychn074
    claireychn074 Posts: 1,436 Member
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    To fox the bench, get some rubber bands (the long ones gyms often have to warm up with) and put two lengthways around the bench. It then grips you as you bench and stops any sliding. There are also bench T-shirts you can buy which have rubber panels on the back, which basically do the same thing (have a look at A7) 😀
  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 34,100 Member
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    Or, you can cut one of those grippy mats to the size you like.
  • springlering62
    springlering62 Posts: 7,891 Member
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    @claireychn074 thats a brilliant idea!

    @cmriverside good idea! The dimpled mat blankets
    Cost a fortune and would unravel if cut, but I do have a rather skanky and worn gaiam sticky mat I could experiment with.

    You guys are the best!!!!!!
  • cmriverside
    cmriverside Posts: 34,100 Member
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    how about just some of that rubber grippy shelf liner stuff from Costco (Walmart, Target) for a few dollars for 20 feet? I use that for everything.

    Google rubber shelf liner...
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,867 Member
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    In response to the swim question:

    I'd definitely recommend getting on the wait list for lessons if this is something you want to pursue or looking around to see if anyone else does lessons. Not sure what you have available...I live in a medium sized city and we have everything from the Red Cross to lessons at the local public pool to private lessons available.

    As to learning to breath...that's a tough one without actually being in the water with someone practicing. I started taking lessons when I was 8 and was a Red Cross lifeguard in my teens as well as on swim team and played water polo, so I couldn't really say how to learn to breath as it's all pretty much ingrained in me at this point and just natural and don't really remember how I learned other than I just learned it.

    What I can say is start with the easy strokes first. Most young swimmers learn the breast stroke first, then side stroke, and then front crawl which requires more advanced breathing than the others. The backstroke is generally the last of the beginner strokes learned. The only thing I can really recall about learning to breath for the front crawl is practicing while holding onto the edge and kicking and just practicing the breathing part without actually swimming the stroke.

    I wouldn't even worry about flip turns at this point...they're an advanced turn used primarily in a race setting or race training setting. Even if used for recreational/fitness lap swim, you would need your swimming fitness to be pretty up there to just do lap after lap without stopping for rests. There are swim programs on line and most of them (particularly at beginner level) will have you do a lap and rest for 15-30 seconds and repeat how many ever laps...then a longer rest and start the next set of laps and repeat for how many ever sets. Most recreational/fitness lap swimmers I've come across don't do flip turns and the ones that do are master level swimmers. When I was on swim team it was something we specifically practiced at the wall over and over and over in order to be able to perfect it for racing.
  • claireychn074
    claireychn074 Posts: 1,436 Member
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    @claireychn074 thats a brilliant idea!

    @cmriverside good idea! The dimpled mat blankets
    Cost a fortune and would unravel if cut, but I do have a rather skanky and worn gaiam sticky mat I could experiment with.

    You guys are the best!!!!!!
    I’d love to claim the credit but I used to see a load of the really strong power lifters doing it, and I reckon if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for the rest of us! 🤣
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,824 Member
    edited November 2023
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    I don't remember exactly how I was taught to breathe (in adult learn to swim classes around 15 or so years ago), though it was a key thing I needed to learn.

    Not an online thing, but I do remember that my favorite instructor recommended the book Total Immersion (Laughlin/Delves). I just looked, and it does include some information about breathing, but somewhat limited. If your library has it, you could take a look and see if it helps.

    I also have the book The Essential Swimmer (Tarpinian), but I can't remember why (it may've just been cheap someplace when I was interested? Caveat emptor!). It does talk about how to do flip turns, as well as about breathing (specific to different strokes). There are line drawings, more so for flip turns than breathing.

    Both of those books have an index, so it's easy to find the main info about breathing and flip turns, if you find them and want to skim before buying or checking out of library.

    Truth in advertising: My breathing technique is still poor, though much better than when I started the adult lessons (when it was non-existant). I can breathe OK, but can only swim about one length freestyle/front crawl before getting out of breath. I think most of this is because I actively dislike swimming, so don't practice. I don't know if the problem is breathing technique, or trying to go too fast. Pretty sure it isn't abstract CV capacity, though it may be sport-specific CV capacity? (My only point in learning was to improve my self-rescue skills for rowing, not to actually perform at swimming. I don't want to swim. at. all. But when you row boats that are a foot wide at the waterline, swimming can happen.)
  • middlehaitch
    middlehaitch Posts: 8,487 Member
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    For the swimming.
    Take lessons. Don’t go at it willy-nilly and then have to re-learn what you were doing. Speaking from experience.
    Like you I could ‘get by’ with no skill for a romp the pool. I decided to get lessons and it was eye opening.

    There was nothing wrong with my lungs, strength, or endurance, but every thing wrong with my technique. 8 weeks, 2 lessons a week, and an all access pass for the duration was what it took to give me a great foundation to build off.
    My stroke was tidied up, my legs were doing more work with less strain, and best of all my breathing was regulated and relaxed.

    That breathing thing (front crawl) is something that I really struggled with. I tried 2 stroke alternate side and 3 stroke one side and ended up being a 3 stroke just because of my own bodies peccadilloes-it rolls to the right easier than the left.
    I also found humming as I was expelling air regulated the expulsion so I wasn’t feeling like I was tensing up and panting instead of getting a good breath.

    I would never have got the breathing without that expert someone working through the ‘what works for me’ with me.
    Our adult lessons are usually run by trainee lifeguards or children’s instructors. Young fresh and with the patience of a saint.

    The funny thing was back stroke was the last stroke we learnt and I took to it like a duck to water. The rest of the class just stood laughing as I took off and swam up and down the pool like I’d been doing it all of my life. Still my favourite stroke.
    Oh we were taught a turn, not the racing turn but one that means you semi-pause not stop.
    (Think of going from sunshine to super man in aqua fit but against a wall and with a twist. That is the best description I can give)

    Honestly, If you want to add swimming to your repertoire take lessons first.

    Cheers, h.

  • Djproulx
    Djproulx Posts: 3,084 Member
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    While you wait for swim lessons, you might search online for “mrswimsmooth”, an animated app that shows perfect swim form.
    As far as breathing, here’s my 2 cents:
    Start by standing in waist deep water and bending forward to submerge your face. No arms needed, just develop a feel for the breathing cadence and repeat a mantra to help you maintain a smooth pattern. One mantra I used (and still do occasionally) helps me with bilateral breathing on every third stroke. “Bubbles….Bubbles…..Breathe(left), Bubbles….Bubbles…Breathe(right)” helps me to exhale slowly and continuously during the left and right arm strokes, then breathe each third stroke. No breath holding only continuous exhaling helps you avoid gasping for air, while also emptying your lungs fully by the time you turn your head to inhale. This can be done on a two stroke or four stroke cadence as well if you only breathe to one side.
    Hope this helps.
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,691 Member
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    Benches shouldn't be slippery. If they are, it's a lack of managing the equipment in the gym. Benches need to be reupholstered occasionally. The slightest tear in any of our upholstered equipment and we're writing up a repair order ASAP because it usually has to get ordered, sent here and then the machine maintenance crews (who come like every 2-3 weeks) swaps out the damaged upholstery.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 35+ years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

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  • springlering62
    springlering62 Posts: 7,891 Member
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    Great advice, y’all. @middlehaitch you reminded me that the county aquatics center is less than two miles in the “other” direction. I totally forgot about it even though one of the kids did diving and competitions there many moons ago. Will call tomorrow. I seldom got that way, so ….derrrrr. It would even be an easy bike ride. 🤦🏻‍♀️

    @ninerbuff our equipment is very very well maintained, since the gym is geared towards older patrons and the hospital/owner is über safety and malpractice conscious. They completely replace all the equipment every few years (the FD and PD get and much appreciate the old equipment). I don’t know why the thing is slippery.

    It might even be me that’s slippery, with head to toe lycra, ya know? I have to throw a towel over my leggings to keep my legs from slipping off my arms during arm balances.

    All I know is, as soon as I try bracing my feet, the inevitable slide happens. My old gym even had grippy foot mats to raise the floor and brace on. I wore the same gear there, too, btw.
  • claireychn074
    claireychn074 Posts: 1,436 Member
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    ninerbuff wrote: »
    Benches shouldn't be slippery. If they are, it's a lack of managing the equipment in the gym. Benches need to be reupholstered occasionally. The slightest tear in any of our upholstered equipment and we're writing up a repair order ASAP because it usually has to get ordered, sent here and then the machine maintenance crews (who come like every 2-3 weeks) swaps out the damaged upholstery.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 35+ years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png

    The gym I used to belong to had one slippery bench - it was well maintained etc but just seemed to be slippery. Don’t know if it was the material it was made from 🤷‍♂️ I used to watch all the powerlifters moving it to the side and grabbing another one until it was the only one left, then the rubber bands would come out with lots of muttering 🤣
  • ridiculous59
    ridiculous59 Posts: 2,864 Member
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    What great advice about swimming from everyone! I really enjoy a deep water running class but every so often venture into the lap lane. Now I feel like some lessons would be more than helpful.....better technique would have better results with less effort.

    I second the suggestion for the non-slip shelf liner. I paddle with a dragon boat club and our boat has smooth seats. I use it so I don't slide and just keep it in my pfd pocket between paddles. Marvelous stuff.